eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - eyebrow raised (eyebrow)
eric_foreman ([personal profile] eric_foreman) wrote in [community profile] alwaysright2009-10-11 09:27 pm

October 30, 2007 - Midmorning

Going to the lecture theatre was out of the question. Foreman didn't care if House was waiting there with a case, bright-eyed and eager to work. His job had changed, and he'd act like it. He took the elevator up to the Diagnostics office instead, hanging up his coat carefully. Standing there, with it still in his hands, he remembered the dry-cleaning and fresh shirt he'd left in the back of his car. What a wonderful idea, to go straight to Amber's place after work, to spend time with her and ignore distractions...Jesus, maybe they were kidding themselves. If they couldn't make it through a car ride without arguing, what chance did they have to spend a whole evening together? It couldn't possibly work out if they switched between sex, no matter how fantastic, and fights that didn't have any resolution. He grimaced and spun on his heel, determined not to think about it. He'd make a pot of coffee, read the paper, scrounge for breakfast. He'd ignore House until Diagnostics had a case. He'd check in with Cameron, work his clinic hours, and he'd organize the department. He wouldn't get ahead of himself and start thinking about tonight.

Yet Foreman still wanted to go. He felt safer with Amber when his two worlds, the personal and the professional, weren't intersecting. They'd had a real conversation at the restaurant, both before and after the situation had devolved to something more shameless. They could talk. Just not about work. The most important thing in both their lives--leaving it aside wouldn't give them much of a range to discuss.

Time. That's what it took. Foreman opened a packet of coffee grounds and started the machine. Time was unlikely to fix the things he and Amber were arguing about, or soften either of their positions. So Amber was the cut-throat bitch? Foreman had been called his share of names for being ambitious. He'd thrown friends to the wolves before, too...he'd known, he'd known all along that Cameron would wait for House to read her article, while Foreman just shoved the papers under his nose and barked, "Sign this." House had glanced up, eyebrows raised, gaze turning evaluating, about to start picking. "It's an article," Foreman said. "I'm submitting it. You're signing off on it, because you know that I wouldn't send in anything sub-standard, and if you wanted to peer-review you would, so no, you don't need to read it first."

House had actually--for one moment in his fucking life--not said anything, but reached for the pen Foreman thrust at him. He signed with a flourish, offering the pages back to Foreman with a mimed air of wounded innocence, but Foreman hadn't missed his smirk. House had known, just as well as Foreman had, that Cameron's article was still sitting on his desk. House had signed because it was a joke to him to play them off each other. Foreman had won; Cameron had tried to scold him, as if that made him a bad little boy. No. Not going to happen. He wasn't guilty. It didn't matter. He'd won.

Wasn't that what Amber did? Wasn't that the side of herself she put out for the whole world to see? Foreman had told Cameron they weren't friends. They weren't friends. But that made it easier, didn't it? That mitigated his responsibility.

I don't hide myself behind false niceties, opening doors just to make people like me.

Foreman didn't either. Amber just didn't know that yet.

Shaking his head, Foreman poured himself a cup of coffee, fixing it the way he liked it. He'd promised he'd ask Cameron for cases. He still wanted Amber to trust him, and this was part of his job. There was probably nothing. After he'd confirmed that, he could retreat to the conference room and work on House's backlog of paperwork all he wanted, and avoid the candidates as long as he liked. He left the office on the way to the elevator, coffee in one hand, stomach rumbling.
robert_chase: chase in his vest combo, at a distance (Default)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-11 11:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Cameron left him, as she did every morning, in the entrance hall, right at the path that segued off to the ER. She didn't like holding hands at work, or kissing him, or showing any other physical sign of affection-- "It's not professional," she'd said, and, more honestly, "It feels strange." Chase didn't think there'd be anything out of place with a brief kiss, he's seen other intra-hospital couples do it. But if he insisted on pushing Cameron every step of the way, she'd have fled eons ago.

At any rate, Chase didn't need any indications besides her bright, wide smile and the twinkle in her eye. "Going to mess more with House today?"

The bet he'd run yesterday was the best thing he'd done in months, and not just for the extra cash padding his wallet. "Think I'll give him a break, for now," Chase said with mock deep thought.

"Don't wait too long, or he'll get complacent," Cameron said and, still grinning, turned around, her tight hair bun bobbing as she sauntered to the ER.

Chase headed off to the hallways that would lead him to the OR, whistling to himself. Cameron loved her new job, and Chase was glad for that. She'd been perkier, less in doubt; treating the extreme cases gave her that every-second-counts thrill and that same immidiacy challenged her to think as fast as possible. Chase hadn't wanted to stay in Princeton-Plainsboro; if they were going to leave House, they ought to make a clean break. But when they'd discussed their options, that night she showed up on his doorstep insisting it was Tuesday, curled up on his couch with a couple of wineglasses, she'd become listless, constantly shifting, as they suggested places to move to. The moment he said that maybe they should stay, she relaxed, leaning more of her weight against his chest.

So they'd stayed. Always needing more competent hands in the ER, Cuddy had offered her the job. Cameron had accepted at once. Chase had resisted a little longer, trying for work in another local hospital. But after a couple of months of "We're not hiring right now," he took on the open spot in the surgery department. The work wasn't bad. He missed the fun of spinning unrelated symptoms into something that made sense; missed the fun of House. No other doctor had that same devil-may-care approach, and Chase had always gotten a kick out of it. But that bridge had been more than burned, and surgery was intriguing in its way. While he'd probably try for another specialty in a few years, for now he felt good. Happy.

The same, apparentely, could not be said of Foreman, who was storming his way through the crowds of nurses and orderlies. Chase smirked. So he hadn't taken his suggestion to lighten up and enjoy himself. Big surprise there. Foreman did love digging his heels in self-conflict, as much as he critiscized for doing the same. Chase waved and walked up to him, unable to resist the chance to make fun of him. "I'd say you look about forty-nine times unhappier than yesterday. You should've just called her."
robert_chase: amused chase is amused (smiling)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-12 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
Foreman's reaction, getting all the more pissy, was automatic and gratifying. He always rose so quickly to the bait, which was precisely why teasing him was so much fun. Chase had no siblings, but he imagined that this was what having a brother was like-- no matter how much they wanted to kill you, they never could. "Cameron always has something good," Chase said, smirk deepening. "But if you want a case, you'll have to ask her."

Chase could tell him Cameron was already in the ER, but he wouldn't make his life that easy. "Good morning to you, too," Chase added, cheerfully overlooking the fact that he himself hadn't greeted Foreman properly either. "I'm doing great, thanks for asking. How about you? Playing Grumpy Bear working out for you?" That first question was partially sincere; Foreman looked like he needed to vent before provoking an early heart attack, but Chase doubted he'd take up the offer. Too proud for that.

He seemed just as angry as the evening before, but in a different way. If yesterday he'd looked ready to find the closest dummy to beat into a straw pulp, today he was more withdraw. Contemplative. He'd probably spent the night going over each mistake he'd committed. Chase almost felt bad for him, knowing how much House would take advantage of that. Chase stuffed his hands into his pockets, rocked on his feet. "If you wanna make House torture you less by distracting him, that won't work. He'll figure out what you're up to."
robert_chase: chase chillin' (arms up)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-12 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Chase's eyebrows shot up when Foreman threw his mostly-full coffee cup into the trash. Those must've bee some pretty major mistakes he'd been up to; maybe he had called her, after all, and gotten a hard-up rejection. Chase had met this Amber girl and he doubted she'd stop at crushing a guy's balls to get rid of an annoyance. "Right, it doesn't sound at all like you’re avoiding House’s mockery. By the way, those are some impressive skills you picked up at Mercy, if you can see the future now." It wasn't as if all their patients coughed up blood-- and those that did, House only cared if he couldn't explain the reason why.

He refrained from voicing out loud this last observation since it'd be teasing overkill, and anyway Foreman seemed to be thinking, head tilted like he did when House was challenging him to go faster, deeper. Chase almost missed that look. His blood had long since been conditioned to beat harder at the sight of it, readying himself to refute whatever idea Foreman pulled out.

"Yeah?" Chase prompted, waiting for the second half of that thought. It promised to be good. While he could guess the subject matter, he wanted to hear the spin Foreman put on it. But the rest never came, since Foreman chickened out. "Hey," Chase said before Foreman could stomp off to Cameron and take his bad mood to her. "It wasn't that bad, when we were working together." They'd had their complications, but they'd been mostly unrelated to sharing an office. Their real problems hadn't gone away now that they worked in separate departments. "If you want a coffee to replace the one you just threw away, I'm gonna get one now. You could come with." Chase shrugged. Foreman could come with him, maybe get off his chest whatever was eating him up. Or he could not. Not a big deal for Chase either way. He’d get his morning coffee either way.
robert_chase: chase in his vest combo, at a distance (Default)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-12 10:53 pm (UTC)(link)
"They weren't," Chase said with the agreeability of one who'd put the worst behind him. "That's why I said 'not bad' instead of 'peachy.'" Foreman's sudden embarrassment, rapidly averting his gaze as if he were seeing something he didn't want anyone else to witness, was interesting. Disturbing, too. Chase really didn't want to know where Foreman's mind had gone at the reminder of he and Cameron caught in the closet.

Chase fell in step with Foreman, their pace matching automatically. Years of going through the hallways together-- sometimes running and yelling, other times drudging down after a night of running labs-- had attuned them to each other's rhythms. "You were there, you saw us. We fought plenty." Cameron, being Cameron, was vehement about her opinions, infusing every medical decision with her feelings. So when they’d fought about cases, it got personal, fast. Chase pushed through a set of double-doors. "But it didn't keep us from getting together.” Cameron actually got turned on by arguments, so even when they’d disagreed over a patient, it hadn’t affected their sex life. And technically they’d been only fuck buddies, when they’d been working for House.

Things weren't adding up, though. Foreman was wound up like a toy airplane, and if he was asking about Chase about the history of his love-life with an ex-coworker, Chase could only assume it was because of that girl. Yesterday the gossip claimed that she'd slept with him once and dumped him before Foreman came back to the hospital; why would arguing cases be a problem? "Don't tell me you're this worked up over a medical opinion. You don't even have a case right now."
robert_chase: chase chillin' (arms up)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-12 11:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Chase would sleep more than okay at night, not knowing what was bothering Foreman this much. But if they'd come this far-- and it was pretty far, for Foreman to even consider venting at him-- then they might as well go all the way. "Okay, spit it out, your bad mood is getting to me. What is this about? Did you fight with that Amber girl and now she won't give you the time of day? Or are you scared of asking her out again, seeing the dark future where you two end up unhappily ever after?" Either way, he was worrying too damn much. If she didn't like him, that sucked; Chase had some experience in just how much. Cameron had taken a long while before coming round to admitting that she liked him, too. If Foreman was coward, then his misery right now was his own fault.

He served himself, setting up his own breakfast on a tray. He and Cameron never cooked; they had neither the time nor the interest. Dinner and weekends were take-out, breakfasts and lunches were at the hospital. Chase grabbed his own cup of coffee and a sandwich. Spending as many hours as he did on his feet, he needed all the energy he could get in the morning.

Foreman would probably try to bite his head for giving unasked for advice, but whatever. He hadn't cared what Foreman thought of him when they were working together, and now he had even less to worry about. "If you want to be with her, and if you can make it happen, then I say do it." Foreman had to stop over thinking things and just live. “I’m pretty sure Cameron would tell you the same thing.” Actually, she might very well take Foreman's side, or Amber's, and decide that it was just too complicated for either one of them to get into. But since he and Cameron had ended up so great, Chase hoped she'd be a bigger advocate of difficult love.
robert_chase: even chase worries (worried)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-13 01:55 am (UTC)(link)
Chase passed a crumpled bill to the cashier and nodded in thanks when she returned the change in coins. He'd barely caught Foreman's scowl, as if his turmoil were Chase's fault, but even if Chase had missed it, he'd had known it was there. Foreman had never taken well to having his errors pointed out; of course he'd get uglier when it was about his personal life.

Sliding his tray onto the table and sitting down, Chase wondered if Foreman could hear himself and just how ridiculous he sounded. Though he was amusing, too. Not even when he'd been with Wendy had Chase seen him this affected. He didn’t have to say a word; Chase could tell how much he liked her from his levels of pissiness. He couldn't wait to tell Cameron that Foreman was making a fool of himself in love. Her expression would be priceless. "I don't know, you made it pretty clear to me. Have you tried telling her that way?" Chase had. He frowned into his sandwich, remembering. For weeks and weeks, past his own embarrassment threshold, he'd told Cameron he liked her. Wanted to be with her. At first it'd been liberating, fun, finally admitting to the feelings that, in retrospect, he'd nursed from the beginning. By the end it was agonizing, her refusals growing crueler and colder. He wouldn't take back a single one of those I Like Yous, but they'd been hard.

"And what makes you think House would be harder on you?" Admittedly, when House had revealed that he knew Chase and Cameron were sleeping together, he hadn't even had the decency to pretend to care. Probably thought it was funnier that way, making Cameron go crazy figuring out why he wasn't bothered, and Chase lovesick that the girl he was into wanted someone else. The worst House had ever done to them was be the object of Cameron's years-long crush, and Chase doubted that was Amber's case. Far as Chase could tell, nothing House did to Foreman would be as bad. Not that Chase would admit that. Foreman was the one spilling his guts, not him. Instead, Chase bit into his sandwich, listening to the rest of Foreman’s tale of woe.

By the end, Forman looked more miserable than a dog stuck in the rain. Chase had no idea what the details were-- from the sound of it, Foreman had been following after Amber forlornly wagging his tail, to no avail-- but they didn't matter. The end result was the same. He was fighting with the girl he liked and he didn't know what to do about it. "You asked if Cameron and I just made up and settled down. The answer is no." This much he didn't mind saying, since these problems felt more surmountable. "She won't move in with me, last week we fought whether or not I should operate on a guy that didn't have a chance in hell of living, and I can't stand the music she listens to." Chase shrugged. "More like we keep making up."
robert_chase: amused chase is amused (smiling)

[personal profile] robert_chase 2009-10-13 11:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Were they having different conversations? Probably. Foreman didn't seem to need Chase as an audience, half-hearing his remarks and going on tangents without explaining their source. Chase leaned back, resting his arm along the back of the chair, and let Foreman rant unfettered.

"He's House, of course he's gonna try to make you miserable," Chase said once Foreman fell into a moody silence. "Just don't challenge him too much, and he won't try harder than before." A pointless suggestion, since power struggles were a red flag to Foreman. Wave one at him and charging he went.

Amber was another question; from what he'd heard and seen, she'd be perfectly willing to feed babies to alligators if it suited her purposes. The first real conversation they'd had, Amber had been and was trying to get Chase to do the work that might get her back on the staff; Foreman was probably right she'd take the job over him. That sucked. But that was Foreman's problem to deal with, falling for a female House.

And now Foreman was mumbling things Chase couldn’t even make out. Chase rolled his eyes, grabbing his half-full cup. He'd rather drink the rest at the OR lounge, where sulking ex-colleagues wouldn't put him off his coffee. “Good luck with that.” Getting up, Chase patted Foreman on the back before he walked off, fully aware of how much that’d annoy him. He still had no idea if Foreman had any kind of shot with Amber, but if he did— the world would be a scarier place, with them as a couple.

Swinging out of the cafeteria, Chase pulled out his cell phone and dialed Cameron. “Guess what.”